Leechburg paced by run game, defense
Leechburg posted an opening-night win the old-fashioned way — with a sound running game, strong defense and just enough big plays.
The Blue Devils defeated Wilkinsburg, 16-6, in the Class A Eastern Conference opener on Friday night at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Three big plays resulted in all 16 points for the Blue Devils. Offensively, the Blue Devils finished with 215 total yards.
With the Blue Devils (1-0) down 6-0 in the second quarter after Wilkinsburg (0-1) blocked a punt and returned it for a touchdown, sophomore Jordan Cominos recorded a safety, tackling the Tigers' punter in the end zone after a high snap.
The big plays continued for Leechburg, as senior Tyler Dubovi found senior Jacob Iellimo for a 39-yard touchdown pass on fourth down. Junior Nathan Booher missed the extra point.
Blue Devils head coach Mark George had no intentions of punting.
“We talked about it in the huddle during the timeout,” George said. “We wanted to see if anyone would cover Iellimo. Either way we were going to throw it to him.”
Dubovi finished 3 for 7 for 55 yards and a touchdown.
Iellimo caught three passes for 50 yards and one touchdown.
Junior Alex Kalmar capped the scoring with a 34-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter. Junior Joe Strellic's two-point conversion made it 16-6.
Kalmar finished with seven carries for 56 yards and one touchdown, while Strellic had 64 yards on 12 carries to be Leechburg's leading rusher for the night.
Defensively, Leechburg recorded three sacks and had a handful of tackles for a loss while surrendering 109 total yards to the Tigers.
“The defense played very well tonight,” George said. “Wilkinsburg has a lot of speed. The defense did exactly what we wanted them to do.”
D.J. Vasil is a freelance writer.